Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 15:
The Bhubaneswar Chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) celebrated the Odia New Year Day as Odisha Heritage Day here on Tuesday.
“This day is being celebrated every year for more than a quarter century in Bhubaneswar to create awareness about the glorious heritage of our state, particularly among the youth and the rest of the country”, said H Balakrishnan, convener of the Chapter, in his address.
The day began with an inter-school Odia Elocution competition for which students from 20 schools were invited. The subject was “Odisha’s Heritage- to be conserved by Whom, Why and How?”
Sushree Saswatika Mohapatra of the Vivekananda Shiksha Kendra won the first prize, Debi Prasad Rath of Capital High School won the second prize while Ushashree Behera of Vivekananda Shiksha Kendra and BN Shreevishesha of DAV School, Chandrasekharpur shared the third prize.
Eminent poet and Jnanapeeth awardee Padma Vibhushan Sitakanta Mahapatra was the chief guest and delivered the Heritage lecture. He extolled the audience about the real meaning of heritage and how citizens should conduct themselves to conserve their own heritage. He said heritage is not a “frozen” entity, but evolves with time. He was skeptic about the chances of Bhubaneswar being declared a world heritage city by UNESCO, for which it is vying with many better contestants.
“The way the ancient relics of Sishupalgarh have been “conserved” with concrete buildings obliterating whatever little was left shows the concern of the government and the people”, he said.
The same story is repeated ad nauseum in the case of all the temples of this “Mandira Malini”, with avaricious land-grabbers, builders encroaching precious heritage sites, Mohapatra added.
State convener AB Tripathy spoke on “Milestone of INTACH in Odisha” since 1986. He said there are now eight Chapters in the state and also the INTACH Conservation Centre through which conservation of 26 monuments is in progress with funds provided by the government.
On the occasion, a website www.odishaheritage.com was officially launched.
Jayant Kumar Dash, life member of INTACH, who created and manages the website, informed the audience that he has been working on the site for the past 15 years, and expressed thanks to INTACH for launching it officially on the Odia New Year Day in this Nabakalebara year.
Snippets of the website covering fifteen different aspects of Odisha’s heritage were projected in the auditorium of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan where the function was held.
Eminent artist and curator Ramahari Jena was bestowed the INTACH Gaurav Award, instituted in 2013 by the Bhubaneswar Chapter at the initiative of the convener H Balakrishnan.
Dr Pratibha Ray, Sudarshan Sahoo, Dr Dinanath Pathi, Dr Priyambada Hejmadi and Dr Debi Prasanna Patnaik are among previous recipients of the award.